• Jul 8th 2009 at 9:29AM
  • 27
Mike and Maaike's Autonomobile – Click above for high-res image gallery

In Possible Future Scenario #317-B, San Francisco industrial design firm Mike and Maaike presents the atnmbl (get it? – "autonomobile"). Less a car than an autonomous, seven-person mobile living room, the atnmbl is billed as a complete redesign of the car for those who believe that the ideal driving experience is not driving.

Essentially an all-wheel-drive Internet sitting room, the solar and electric atnmbl asks you where you want to go and then takes you there. Speed and acceleration are "irrelevant considerations," time savings is the key – that is, unless you ask the atnmbl to take the scenic route. Since you're not driving, you'll need something to do during the trip, hence the Internet browsing screen and open-source software architecture to download apps, social networking capabilities, and... a bar.

Mike and Maaike don't predict seeing the atnmbl until 2040, which gives you some time to enjoy having to leave your couch to go camping. As for such a thing actually materializing, coming from the folks who designed the Google Phone, and with, perhaps, the ears of Google's muckamucks, well, hey, who knows. In the meantime, you can read what the firm has to say about its creation after the jump.

[Source: Core77]


The End of Driving.

We always wanted to design a car, it just never felt right. The current climate gave us the final push--with the car industry lost, an urgent focus on global warming, awareness of oil dependency, and the economic down turn, the stars have aligned. It is time to sow seeds, to experiment. Armed with a small design studio, we set out to design a concept car which questions current obsessions of speed, styling and driving in search of an optimistic new future. And it quickly became clear to us:

A shift must take place from styling cars to redefining them.

Speed has been the driving factor for car design, styling, and engineering for a century. Most vehicles on the road today are capable of reaching 120 mph yet they are mostly used at moderate speeds and sitting in traffic. It's time to look at performance in a new way. Our vision is a new focus on quality of time while in traffic and transit. Dismissing the need for extreme MPH and acceleration as irrelevant, performance can be measured by time savings instead.

Driverless cars, once a fantasy requiring new roads and infrastructure, are now technologically possible, even inevitable. GPS, sophisticated sensors, and navigation databases will allow driverless vehicles to operate on the same roads we have today. The shift from a driving infrastructure to a riding infrastructure has deep implications for society, yet it is currently being defined almost exclusively by engineers and the military. Positive design visions are desperately needed if this technology (and other robotic technology) is to have a positive impact on society.

The Autonomobile
ATNMBL is our vision of a concept car for 2040 that represents the end of driving. Upon entering ATNMBL, passengers are presented with the question: "Where can I take you?". There is no steering wheel, brake pedal or drivers seat. ATNMBL drives by itself. About the size of that parking space you couldn't fit into, electric powered with wrap-around seating for seven, ATNMBL offers living comfort, views, conversations, entertainment, and social connectedness. The vehicle is designed from the inside out with elements influenced by architecture and domestic interior spaces.

From the outside, ATNMBL looks like micro-architecture. Large windows, a pitched roof and asymmetrical from every view, it is designed without any reference to automobiles of the past. In contrast to today's automobiles, where much of the car's space is reserved for engine and drive train, ATNMBL's mechanical components are densely packed and simplified, providing dramatically more interior space in a vehicle that is shorter than most cars on the road today. Electric motors in each wheel provide all-wheel drive. Electric power is stored underneath the seating and floor with additional power provided by solar panels on the roof. Within a gridded pattern on the front and rear is an array of headlights, tail lights and sensors.

Passengers enter ATNMBL from the curb side through an electric glass sliding door into a standing-height entryway. Inside, the seating arrangement is a direct reference to the familiar living-room setting of a couch, side chair and low table. Riders are oriented towards each other and to the view outside through the large floor-to-ceiling windows on both sides. Centrally oriented is a large flat display that features live trip information, maps, and entertainment. The display can slide up to reveal a bar behind. A new and comprehensive sense of control is introduced through voice recognition and a touch screen remote control (or one's personal phone), offering riders a wide range of trip planning, ride sharing and performance settings that can be very detailed for those who want elaborate control or extremely simple for those who would rather just relax and enjoy the ride.

Summary of Features:
- fully electric powered plus solar assist
- driverless navigation via GPS, Lidar, radar, stereo camera, accelerometers
- wrap-around seating for 7
- voice recognition and remote for real-time control/ input
- large display for info, searches, browsing, communication
- open-source software with downloadable apps for carpool and carshare through social networking, pre-loaded trips, city tours, virtual drivers, etc.

- live trip info on mini display
- electric door, standing height entryway
- all wheel drive with motors in each wheel
- very few mechanical parts (drive by wire)
- bar

The list of life-enriching benefits is long: accessibility for young, old, and disabled (no drivers licenses), no searching for parking (it will drop you off and park itself), fewer cars will serve more people, less energy use, people will save hours each day (think autonomous check-ups and grocery pickups). Most importantly, there will be far fewer fatalities and there will always be a designated driver.

About Mike and Maaike
Mike and Maaike is an industrial design studio that takes an experimental approach to design, creating progressive solutions for high and low tech products, furniture, wearables, environments, and vehicles. Maaike Evers is Dutch; Mike Simonian, Californian. Their distinct backgrounds and unique approach create strong conceptual foundations and a clear point of view. Equally inspired by the tradition of craft and the potential of industry, Mike and Maaike have designed and developed complex high-tech products as well as artful and personal objects. The studio, which has received recognition and awards from design publications and museums around the world, is based in San Francisco. Mike and Maaike partner with people, organizations and companies who value an informed, experimental approach to design and the unexpected results it brings. They recently collaborated with Google to develop Android-based smart phones

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Those who are driven around in unaerodynamic glass houses shouldn't crash . . . .

      Any guess on how much energy it will take to move a brick like that down the interstate? (Maybe "Mr Fusion" will be on-line by then . . . .)

      What a joke!
      • 6 Years Ago
      google is taking over the world by storm. microsoft and apple may be wiped out in the next few years and now they are reinventing the internet and the car industry. what is next the financial world? time will tell
      • 6 Years Ago
      Should read:

      "Google phone designers miss point entirely."
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, there's plenty of idiots on the road where I live (Sacramento) that should probably turn in their cars and get these google bubble things to cart them around. That would make the 50 and 80 a safer place for those of us that like to drive (and can do so with competence)
        • 6 Years Ago
        • 6 Years Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Isn't it quite a bit too late for april's fools jokes?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Point of Clarification: This has NOTHING to do with Google. These guys don't work directly for Google. There is no such thing as a "Google Phone". This is the firm that designed the G1 hardware design for HTC.

      • 6 Years Ago
      This may be a future that does not come...
      • 6 Years Ago
      i like the idea of always having a designated driver. All you need is a roomba in there cleanin stuff up while you party it up wooo
      • 6 Years Ago
      So Google envisions electronic stimulation... all the time? Even while driving? It's not far from it.

      I recommend reading Fahrenheit 451 for a vision of what Kindles will be like in a few years.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Obvious concept. Very poor Industrial Design.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This thing is awful. I understand (and wholly embrace) the mobile autonomous lounge concept - it likely is the future.

      However this is ugly, not aerodynamic, would likely have a stiffer ride than a shopping trolley.

      Future vehicles don't need to look like flying Camaros or glassy Ferraris... but this is poor transportation design at best.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Oh, and one more thing...

        However much these designers might want to design the "anti-car", they still need to negotiate real roads. That means potholes, expansion joints, loose gravel.

        I can understand wanting to escape driving, but unless thing has 4 legs (like yesterday's NOMAD concept) it needs a few car conventions to be remotely usable. Ive lived in San Francisco, and this silly pod wouldn't make it very far outside of SOMA before the occupants demand out.

        OR you can look at the Minority report concept for a far more compelling take on automated mobility.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Whatever. That's so stupid.
      • 6 Years Ago
      We've been rendering concepts like this for hundreds of years maybe? What was they earlier concept of the magic carpet? Anyhow, thanks for adding to the concept guys. But please design the rail logistics that will accompany this. Rubber wheels and potholes need to be removed from the equation.

      The direction of our future is such a question mark. I'm hoping that we can push more reading into our society, to counteract the cancer of television/movies and its internet equivalent. We spend so much time being cogs in the system as it is, any amount of respite is golden,
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X